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Grand jury hearing evidence in NYPD "chokehold arrest"

Eric Garner

AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network

Update: No charges for NYPD officer in Eric Garner chokehold death case

NEW YORK - A grand jury has begun deciding whether there should be criminal charges in the case of an unarmed man who died after being put in a chokehold by New York City police.

Police union officials said the grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner.

The proceedings come five weeks after the medical examiner found that a banned chokehold used by Officer Daniel Pantaleo contributed to the 43-year-old Garner's July death on Staten Island. The death was ruled a homicide.

Pantaleo's lawyer says he expects it will take at least a month for the panel to reach a decision. He says his client denies any wronging.

The Staten Island district attorney declined to comment.

Video of Garner's fatal arrest shot by a bystander shows one officer - Pantaleo - wrap his arm around Garner's neck as he is taken to the ground - while Garner shouts, "I can't breathe."

Chokeholds are banned under New York Police Department policy. In the wake of Garner's death, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton vowed to retrain officers on the use of force.

Following the incident, the NYPD said it stripped Pantaleo of his gun and badge. The officer has previously been sued by three men in federal court over allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department is "closely monitoring" the investigation into Garner's death.